The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog

The Watering Hole

Children - Social Issues
30 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog: The Watering Hole is a social issues picture book for children written by Dr. Renea Skelton and illustrated by Kylie Box. Henry loved spending his days at the watering hole. As he was walking there, Henry heard a whimpering sound coming from the trees. He followed the noise and came upon a crying skunk. When Henry asked her what was wrong, she explained that she didn’t feel like she belonged, and she wished she wasn’t a skunk. Then she told him about her encounter with Olivia the Otter, who called her stinky and smelly, and said skunks weren’t allowed in the watering hole. While the characters are animals, the sadness Shelly the skunk experiences is something many kids face in dealing with others in school and at play. Henry asks after her, and then he gives her time and space to tell him what’s wrong. These simple acts combined with Henry’s calm, caring warmth give Shelly what she needs to share her feelings. When he confides that he has often wished he was a porcupine instead of a little hedgehog, she really gets that he understands, and she begins to feel better about herself and her day.

I love the multifaceted aspects of this book. While we’re following Henry, the author includes interesting facts about watering holes, skunks, otters, and other natural history information. Then she adds questions that work with Henry and Olivia’s conversation, questions that have kids considering if anyone has been mean to them and how that made them feel. Dr. Skelton also shares helpful information for parents and teachers in dealing with kids who are sad. Kylie Box’s illustrations are marvelous! They instill an upbeat sense to the story even while Shelly’s sadness is explored. I love the facial expressions she gives to each of her characters. The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog: The Watering Hole is a grand selection for storytime. Afterward, young listeners can be prompted to answer or think about the questions posed throughout the book. This book is also written at a level that makes it suitable for young readers to try on their own. Most highly recommended.

Rosie Malezer

The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog is a children’s picture book written by Renea Skelton and illustrated by Kylie Box. When Henry meets a sad skunk named Shelly, he sits with her and learns why she is so sad. Shelly tells of the bullying and stereotyping she hears from other animals each and every day, all of which makes her very depressed. Not only does Shelly wish she was something other than a skunk, but she feels very much alone. Henry is shocked to hear of how his friends treat Shelly and when one of them insults her in his presence, Henry is very disappointed. Shelly is touched by how much Henry cares about her sorrow, and soon learns to stand up for herself.

This amazing children’s tale hit very close to home for me. Being bullied is hard and it takes a lot of courage to stand up to bullies. Renea Skelton’s beautifully written tale teaches children and adults alike that each individual, whether an animal or a human being, is unique and has a beauty about themselves which cannot be duplicated. A simple act of kindness is all it takes to not only remove the stressful wall which makes so many people - young and old - feel isolated but also to make them feel loved and accepted for who they are. The illustrations brought The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog beautifully to life and the tale, along with the eye-opening facts about skunks, made me want to add this wonderful picture book to my children’s library at home. I very much recommend The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog not only to children of early reading age but also to parents of children who want to teach their child acceptance, love, and friendship toward others.

Bruce Arrington

The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog: The Watering Hole by Dr. Renea Skelton is a 30-page, colorful children’s illustrated book for young readers of all ages. It also provides useful guidelines for parents and teachers at the end of the book to help children with their negative feelings. This story’s primary characters are Henry, a hedgehog, and his friend Shelly, a skunk. Henry’s day is going fine until he finds Shelly in a state of sadness and depression. Through his friendship, he helps Shelly see her value and helps her to accept herself as she is, no matter the negative opinions of others she must deal with all the time.

All kids go through periods of sadness and other negative emotions; that’s just life here on planet Earth. But what this book attempts to show children is how important they are. Taking Shelly as an example, the story lists important facts about her life cycle (in how long skunks live), their environments, and other interesting tidbits about their lives. And since the “stink” part here is an issue in this book, it goes on to explain how that very quality can help save a skunk’s life. I think that The Adventures of Henry the Hedgehog: The Watering Hole by Dr. Renea Skelton would be most effective if parents and teachers take a leadership role and use the suggestions provided. That way it isn’t just a cute story of two friends who help each other; rather it becomes a gateway of sorts. A guide to help children move from negative emotions and feelings to those of self-acceptance and worth. Highly recommended.